Tag Archives: eclipses

Book by Dr. Kate Russo – Being in the Shadow

The full title is Being in the Shadow: Stories of the First-time Total Eclipse Experience. I picked up the book at the Mile High Astronomy store a couple weeks ago. It is a very quick read, even for me.

It is essentially self-published, and it is pretty well done. Since she is a psychologist and an eclipse chaser, she wrote about the experiences of six non-amateur astronomers to see how they planned to see and experience the Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) of NE Australia on November 14, 2012. She was able to get their experiences before, during, and after the eclipse event. The names were changed so that the people in the book could remain anonymous. I found the stories from the first person, Cara, who was recently married, and the last person, Rose, who is a teacher, to be the most interesting of the lot. Of the six, I am glad that Terry, the festival goer, had a great eclipse experience, but I could not really relate to his partying and dancing vibe.

For more about the author, check out her website. Dr. Russo has written the primary texts when it comes to community planning for cities and communities in the path of totality. Here is the Community Solar Eclipse Planning – White Paper (PDF) which covers the 2024 TSE in the United States, Mexico, and Canada this April 8th.

American Eclipse by David Baron

While this book came out 6 years ago back in 2017, it is still a good fascinating read as we prepare for the 2023 annular eclipse in October and for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. It looks like a new edition or version will come out February of 2024.

Much of the book is focused on the July 29, 1878 eclipse eclipse as it happened through Wyoming and Colorado. It was interested to read about how Maria Mitchell and her group observed the eclipse at a residence (Dr. Avery) at 20th St. and Champa. There is a nice drawing of the house on page 131. I drove by the location the other day, and it appears as if the house is no longer there. I spied two office buildings and two parking lots.

It was also interesting to see how involved Thomas Edison was in the event. He was trying to see if his “tasimeter” could be used to measure the heat of the Sun. It never really worked as expected. I also learned that Edison started the journal, Science.

The proposed planet Vulcan was supposedly observed during the eclipse, but it must have been some less bright field stars in the constellation of Cancer. The astronomer, James Craig Watson, from the U of Michigan was sure he spotted the planet, but after claiming his observation, he held on for some time before admitting that he did not see a new planet. Even though he was discredited, there is a medal awarded by the NAS as the James Craig Watson Medal, so his name lives on.

Overall, it was a nice read. It showed how far the US has come in scientific research in the last 155 years, and how the US scientific community was held in low regard by the European establishment at the time. But, the eclipse showed the world that scientists in the United States were getting better and better.